Credit hours:

Course Summary

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being. These experiences range from physical, emotional, or sexual abuse to parental divorce or the incarceration of a parent or guardian. Many foster children have experienced multiple traumatic events in their childhood. It’s imperative that foster parents and other child welfare stakeholders be informed about how trauma impacts the children they care for.

In this course, you can expect to learn:

  • about the connection between adverse childhood experiences and health outcomes
  • how response to stress can impact child and adolescent development
  • features of trauma-informed services
  • the perspective of young people who have experienced trauma
  • ways that foster parents can provide trauma-informed support to children and youth

Step 1

Learn how childhood trauma unfolds across a lifetime from Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris in the video, How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across A Lifetime:

Step 2

Learn what trauma is, how young people respond to trauma, and how trauma-informed services benefit young people in foster care by reading the article, "Trauma-Informed Practice with Young People in Foster Care".

Step 3

Review the JBS International article, "Youth and Family Perspectives on Trauma-Informed Care" and learn how identifying trauma may help to overcome it.

Step 4

Review the Fostering Perspectives article, "Trauma-Informed Parenting: What You Should Know", to obtain valuable trauma informed parenting information. 

Step 5

Learn what the impact of untreated trauma has on a young person, understand your child’s behavior in reaction to trauma, and practical tips to help your child overcome trauma in the article "Parenting a Child Who Has Experienced Trauma".

Step 6

Join the discussion in the comments below to answer the following question:

How might a parent manage discipline differently for a child who has experienced trauma? You are encouraged to use a real-life example, if you have one (but please don't use any names in your story).

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Course Discussion

frenchy78's picture

frenchy78 said:

You would want to make sure you new the child's "triggers" so you wouldn't mistake something as simply defiance or misbehavior but be able to identify the underlying issue.
katiejfrench's picture

katiejfrench said:

Talking to children about good choices and bad choices. Helping them to understand the consequence that comes from their choices. Trying to find out if there was some emotion behind their decision that led to a bad choice and addressing the cause of the emotion.
Truth and Love's picture

Truth and Love said:

Helping a child to know what is right and wrong. Helping a child to heal from being wronged. Helping a child to trust again..... takes time and a lot of effort from an adult.
bryantae's picture

bryantae said:

We try to keep structure and reinforce good decisions versus poor decisions. When emotional triggers set off 12 yr old we are teaching him to find ways to calm down before he blows up. He will go to his room or outside to calm down.
Cweber8347's picture

Cweber8347 said:

Try to involve the child as much as possible in the discipline process. Ask them, “Remember what we said would happen as a consequence if you failed to do this, etc.?” Do not use corporal punishment as it is even more traumatic for them.
lanne's picture

lanne said:

Great question. I love the ideas I've seen here about involving the child in creating discipline responses. When the child needs discipline, you can reinforce the fact that this discipline tool was created together. As in, remember, XX, what we agreed would happen when you lose your temper? We're going to do X now. I could have used this approach with a previous placement--a child who really struggled with regulating his emotions. This child needed lots of guidance and positive reinforcement. Also, it's important to get professional help whenever indicated.
JW's picture

JW said:

Have them be part of decision making process for consequences.
Mikaylla1's picture

Mikaylla1 said:

I involve the child in establishing what the consequences should be for what the negative behavior was. Such as if they break a rule concerning internet use. I have my daughter decide what the consequence should be. She understands action and consequences both positive and negative.
shaaleen's picture

shaaleen said:

Always use understanding and patience. Knowing the trauma in the child's life will help with triggers. Teaching a child resilience is fundamental.
Jodadekyma05's picture

Jodadekyma05 replied:

I agree that knowing the child's trigger's will help to better understand the child, and allow one to build trust with him/her. Understanding the trauma will help you understand the child.